Mould in Grout

By Lizette Salmon, WATCH – Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health

Several years ago a friend built a house in Wodonga and told me her aim was to build a place with no tiles.

Why?  Because she so hated cleaning mould off grout.  Since then I’ve thought of Beth every time I see those tell-tale black spots in our own kitchen and bathroom.  I’d been told that the grout used in our bathrooms was mould resistant but this was clearly not the case. Once mould has got into grout it’s practically impossible to remove.  I’ve tried natural cleaning solutions such as vinegar and bicarbonate soda.  I’ve used expensive fibre-technology cloths and plenty of elbow grease.  Sadly none of this worked and much to my shame I eventually resorted to toxic chemicals to at least bleach the appearance – although not get rid of–this ugly curse.

Then one day another friend told me she doesn’t have a problem with mould in her shower because she wipes the water off the walls with a squeegee after every shower. If this sounds like a dull conversation topic, you’re right, but let’s face it any cleaning short-cuts with environmental pay-backs are worth a quick chat.  Marni assured me it only took her a minute to perform this little ritual.  So I dutifully bought a squeegee from the local shop, hung it in the shower and started following her advice.  It worked; although the existing mould remained there wasn’t any new growth.

Then we moved to Fiji earlier this year and rented a house with a relatively mould-free shower recess. Within weeks of moving in we’d managed to grow mould on pretty much everything.  Shoes, belts, clothes, walls – they all succumbed to either the furrygreen monster or the flat black one. It’s so damp here in Suva that even newspapers left lying on the coffee table get limp and clammy and our fruit bowl gets mistaken for a compost bin.  So I was dreading the chemicals I’d have to resort to in the shower.  But from day one I’ve been wiping the walls after my showers and half a year on the shower looks fine, without needing a single drop of toxic cleaner. I just wish someone had passed on this simple tip years ago.

If you have any green cleaning solutions to share in Living Lightly, or any other Living Lightly stories, please get in touch with Karen at kbowley53@gmail.com.